Why We Started AgoNow, A New Master Industrial Wholesaler

In November, a group of industrial veterans launched AgoNow, a new industrial master distributor based in Tulsa, OK. In this exclusive piece to ID, AgoNow CEO Larry Davis discusses how the company came about and what it plans to do.

The market has shifted. Customer expectations have changed, and the way manufacturers and distributors go to market must change with them. Our new company wants to partner with manufacturers and distributors to navigate this sometimes unpredictable landscape.

In November 2016, my team and I — with more than 100 years’ experience between us in master distribution and industrial markets — launched AgoNow, a new master industrial wholesaler and channel solutions provider. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We also wanted to fulfill a commitment we have made to distributors and suppliers to give them a partner they could trust and depend on.

We’ve set out to build a business that is truly focused on helping our customers do their jobs better. We’re an enabler. We don’t fit neatly as a traditional master wholesaler, nor as an absolute service provider. We view our role as one that enables distributors to do things they couldn’t do on their own and manufacturers to access markets and customers they otherwise couldn’t.

In other words, we connect dots in the marketplace. That requires a mix of products and services, including support in digital marketing, e-commerce and marketing analytics.

We made a few decisions early on that we believe make us different and better able to supply what our partners need when they need it:

  • We will be a pure wholesaler and will commit to it with a non-disclosure, non-compete, non-solicitation agreement. One of my favorite legal terms is “res ipsa loquitur,” which means “the thing speaks for itself.” Signing an agreement is an action that speaks volumes about what our intentions are and creates immediate alignment between the supplier, us and the distributor. We’re not going to revisit every month whether we should compete with our customers. We’re making that decision upfront and committing to it.
  • AgoNow is 100 percent owned by its leadership team. We did this because we want to be in the position to make decisions that are right in a broader context rather than a company just trying to make its next quarter. We believe that to build something special — something sustainable — we need to take a longer-term view driven by what customers and suppliers have told us they needed.

Our tagline is “industrial-strength partnership.” To be a true partner — a word that I’ll admit is sometimes thrown around without much support — I believe you need both commitment and capacity: You must do the things you say you’re going to do. And you have to have the capacity to be a partner. You must be able to align with your partners, measure the impact and adapt as needed. If you can’t do your job effectively and as a result negatively affect somebody else’s business, that’s certainly not a partnership.

We will be collaborating closely with manufacturers and distributors. We believe that the end-user is best served when everyone in the supply chain works well together, and we want to help facilitate those relationships.

I welcome your feedback. If you’d like to learn more about AgoNow, please visit our website agonow.com, or contact us at 918-808-1741 or [email protected].

Larry Davis is Chairman and CEO of AgoNow, a pure industrial wholesaler and channel solutions provider. Before co-founding AgoNow, Davis served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Stellar Industrial Supply, an industrial distributor based in Tacoma, Wash. He served as president of master distributor ORS Nasco from 2009-2014.

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